Introducing: the matrimonial muses.
Inspirational photoshoots and color swatches are great, but a good bridal mood board isn’t complete without juicy real-life references. Sourcing images from pop-culture past is a great way to distill details and aesthetics that reflect your style, without accidentally hitching yourself to a fleeting bridal trend’s bandwagon. What’s more, mood boards become a lot more useful when they tell a story, and iconic wedding pictures are worth far more than a thousand words.
Lucky for every bride-to-be today there’s a wealth of inspiration just waiting to be plucked from the lives and love stories of incredible women in music, film, and fashion. Here, the top 10 stunning examples of women both real and fictional, past and present, to inspire your bridal style.
Want more? Follow Riley & Grey's hashtag dedicated to this breed of bridal icons. Introducing: the matrimonial muses.
It was never a secret that Bianca Jagger had fabulous taste (and just looked really good in white), but the day she married Mick Jagger in a cozy chapel ceremony in St. Tropez, she further solidified herself as a '70s style icon.
The bride’s all-white look paired a (seriously) low-cut suit jacket with a dramatic, wide-brimmed hat with a built-in veil. The resulting ensemble epitomized the flamboyant fashion of the Studio 54 era, while still uphold a sense of ceremony. What’s more, the Bianca bridal inspiration isn’t limited to this memorable moment. Anyone considering a white pantsuit should look to Bianca's extensive style portfolio for pointers.
Who Should Take Note: The “cool bride” who’s into riskier vintage styles. Think: the anti-Audrey Hepburn, and the bride who doesn’t shy away from sex appeal.
How can a look, let alone a big screen bridal look, be so unapologetically aughts and still withstand the test of time? In this respect, Knightley’s multi-layered Love Actually ensemble remains an enigma.
Let’s break it down piece by piece, shall we? A pale pink slip skirt marks the first layer, followed by a nearly invisible asymmetrical dress made of white sequin embellished netting. Next, a lace wrap-around skirt and a matching one-shoulder crop top are worn over the barely-there dress. And last, a sheer, long-sleeved chiffon jacket with a white feathered collar and cuffs comprises the topper.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get more 2000s, there’s the hair: almost-elfin face tendrils and a wispy updo (presumably held together by a hidden claw clip from Claire’s) and that feather halo. The cumulative effect is very angelic—only a decade and a half earlier than the Met Gala's Heavenly Bodies exhibition.
Who Should Take Note: The modern romantic or eccentric ethereal bride who leans more towards “fallen angel” than cutesy doves and doilies.
Underneath it all may have been a relatively simple white satin slip dress, but the queen of on-stage camp didn’t hold back when it came to outerwear and accessories for her wedding in 1987. A giant winter white fur coat made the first statement, but once removed, Ross revealed a long sleeve lace bolero and train.
Though this time Miss Ross wore her usually voluminous hair in a slicked-back chignon, she adorned the look with clusters of small white flowers just above each ear, and tiny tiara atop her head.
Who Should Take Note: Those bold enough to go for the princess look, but who are more drawn to the dramatics of American royalty over the more conservative aesthetics of Buckingham.
Absolutely no one does monochrome better than performance artist and singer Solange. So it came as no surprise when she killed multiple all-white looks over her New Orleans wedding weekend (six to be exact) in 2014.
It’s hard to play favorites, but we were especially partial to the caped cream Stéphane Rolland jumpsuits the bride wore en route to her ceremony and dancing in the streets during her reception.
From the rehearsal dinner to the ceremony and beyond, the bride kept her beauty consistent with a natural eye, punchy red lip, and an afro. At one point, big sister Beyoncé blessed the look with her own hands by sprinkling baby’s breath on one side of Solange’s hair, which had a stunning, ethereal effect.
Who Should Take Note: The modern creative who also views her wedding as an opportunity to dream up delightful details express herself artistically.
View this post on Instagram “The bride wore Comme des Garçons (and no shoes).” Julia Roberts reinventing the bridal veil in 1993. #matrimonialmuse A post shared by Riley & Grey (@rileyandgrey) on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:51am PST
“The bride wore Comme des Garçons (and no shoes).” Julia Roberts reinventing the bridal veil in 1993. #matrimonialmuse
A post shared by Riley & Grey (@rileyandgrey) on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:51am PST
Of course, some of Julia Roberts’ most iconic movie roles involved weddings (see: Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding or Steel Magnolias). But we’d say, even including cinematic ceremonies, her first IRL bridal moment takes the cake.
In 1995, America’s sweetheart wed country singer Lyle Lovett in a “surprise” ceremony in a small town in Indiana. In a breathtaking and bold sartorial move, the starlet walked down the aisle in a nearly see-through Comme des Garcons slip dress (“You could see her belly button!”) and floor-length head-scarf-meets-veil, totally barefoot.
Who Should Take Note: Contemporary boho brides leaning towards post-flower-crown chicness.
Okay, so maybe this wedding wasn’t “real,” but it’s no less iconic than others on this list.
At 1985’s Fashion Aid, British beauty Jane Seymour walked down a runway (in lieu of an aisle) to plant one on Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and raise funds for the Ethiopian famine. The "bride" wore a cornucopia of real lilies and daisies on her head; a ray of lily of the valley seemed to sprout from the top, giving “flower crown” a much more literal meaning.
And the dress? Deliciously over-the-top and eighties; a total Marie Antoinette matrimonial moment dreamed up by the Emanuels (the same pair who designed Princess Diana’s two wedding dresses).
Who Should Take Note: The cheeky maximalist who doesn’t take herself too seriously, believes the eighties are back in a big way, isn’t afraid of frills, and already owns at least one dress from Batsheva.
Elizabeth Taylor had more than a few weddings and, therefore, more than a few incredible wedding dresses. However, we see the sunny yellow chiffon frock, in which she wed her fifth husband, Richard Burton, as the clear frontrunner. The arguably even more memorable detail of the big day in 1964? The garland of hyacinths and lily of the valley interwoven into a giant braided ponytail that would make even Ariana Grande’s jaw drop. Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, Liz’s elaborate 'do also featured a sweet yellow bow in the mix.
Who Should Take Note: The classic cinephile who gravitates towards sixties silhouettes (like Liz’s babydoll), but wants to spice things up with a bright color and bold beauty statement.
View this post on Instagram Saddened by death of my mom Maryan Baadi. May Allah grant her the highest jennah. I beg that you respect my family's privacy during our time of grief #ripmaryanbaadi A post shared by IMAN (@the_real_iman) on Apr 1, 2016 at 4:47am PDT
Saddened by death of my mom Maryan Baadi. May Allah grant her the highest jennah. I beg that you respect my family's privacy during our time of grief #ripmaryanbaadi
A post shared by IMAN (@the_real_iman) on Apr 1, 2016 at 4:47am PDT
Iman always had a powerful presence on the catwalk, even before her late husband David Bowie came into the picture. The pair were no strangers to show-stopping aesthetics in their respective careers, but kept both their looks relatively restrained on their big day in Tuscany in 1992.
Iman’s elbow length evening gloves, ivory halter dress, and half-bouffant cascade of curls, however, brought some theatrics to her bridal ensemble.
Who Should Take Note: The true fashion fanatic, the modernist, and the bride looking to add oomph to a simple silhouette.
Okay, this may be a controversial take but, if you ask us, Moss’s most groundbreaking bridal moments (plural) took place long before her wedding to now-ex Jamie Hince in 2011.
While the “rock-‘n’-roll Great Gatsby” affair (her own words) felt like a more refined, fairytale take on her signature cool-girl style, we’ll always be partial to Moss’s supermodel persona in its truest, most effortless form.
Show us a bride who’s even entertaining the idea of slip dress and we’d bet you there’s at least one photo of vintage Kate Moss pouting perfectly on that bride’s Pinterest board. We love a big statement from fashion’s most prolific muse, but dropping jaws in more basic (as in bare bones, not boring) party attire has always been her superpower.
Who Should Take Note: Kate’s fresh-faced approach to beauty and slinky silhouettes have us thinking she's the perfect match for the ultimate modern minimalist.
View this post on Instagram From the moment I saw you I went out of my mind #whitneyhoustonwedding #beingbobbybrown A post shared by Whitney Houston (@whitneynippynation) on Aug 16, 2013 at 9:42am PDT
From the moment I saw you I went out of my mind #whitneyhoustonwedding #beingbobbybrown
A post shared by Whitney Houston (@whitneynippynation) on Aug 16, 2013 at 9:42am PDT
Though the match would ultimately take a toxic turn, the legendary wedding of Whitney and Bobby was a joyous affair pop-culture will never forget. Houston may be best known for her legendary, irreplaceable voice, but don’t let that overshadow her unrivaled aesthetics both on and off the stage.
Her wedding day was no exception. Never one to shy away from some sparkle, the bride, quite literally, wore her exuberance on her sleeve in a dazzling Marc Bouwer beaded gown.
Curls cut into a short, sculptural silhouette defined the singer’s signature beauty look, but on this day not a strand was in sight. Instead, the diva donned a white beaded cap spouting a detachable floor-length veil and matching deco, dangling earrings. A rosy metallic hue illuminated her lips and lids—subtle, but still glam. Overall, the bride beautifully toed the line between costume and couture.
Who Should Take Note: The anti-blushing-bride who wants to take center stage (wallflowers be warned). Just remember: less Vegas showgirl, more Ziegfeld Follies.